Inglewood Cemetery will host public viewing of music legend Etta James

Deceased legendary singer Etta James will return to South L.A. one final time for a public viewing, her family said on Tuesday.

The public viewing will take place Friday evening at the Inglewood Park Cemetery Mortuary (located on West Manchester Blvd). The viewing is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

imageInglewood Park Cemetery Mortuary. Courtesy of Inglewood Park Cemetery’s website.

A private funeral for family and friends is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Greater Bethany Community Church City of Refuge in Gardena, according to spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger.

James was born in South L.A. but moved to Riverside, California with her family. She died at a hospital in Riverside surrounded by her family. James was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010 and also suffered from dementia and hepatitis C.

In lieu of gifts or flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to The Rhythm & Blues Foundation.

Today, Wednesday, would have been James’s 74th birthday.

Music legend and South L.A. native Etta James dies at 73

Blues singer Etta James, most famous for her love song “At Last,” passed away on Friday due to complications from leukemia.
James died in her son’s arms at Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, California. She also lived in Riverside, about 60 miles away from her birthplace in South Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times, James moved her family to Riverside in the 1980s in order to escape South L.A.’s gang violence.

James is survived by her husband of 42 years, Artis Mills, and her two sons Donto and Sametto James. It was also revealed that James suffered from dementia and hepatitis C.

James’s manager Lupe De Leon commented on her death: “This is a tremendous loss for the family, her friends and fans around the world. She was a true original who could sing it all — her music defied category.”

Indeed, while James’s trademark song was her 1961 pop hit “At Last,” she also captured the musical essence of jazz and rhythm and blues.

James was inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame. She received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and won six Grammy awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 2003.

imageEtta James receiving her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 2003.

Within her lifetime, James struggled with heroin addiction and weight problems. In the mid-1970s, James checked herself into rehab to avoid jail time and overcome her heroin habit. Even though she successfully completed her time in rehab, she ended up addicted to cocaine a few years later. In the 1980s, James gave up alcohol and cocaine and reestablished her spot as a credible music icon. James wrote about her struggles in her 1998 memoir “Rage to Survive.”

James’s legacy transcended into modern artists’ praise and dedication to her music.

One of her most vocal fans was Christina Aguilera, who posted a message about James on her official website on Friday: “Her raw tone and the passion she put forth on a record spoke to me at a very young age and has continued to influence and inspire me throughout my career.” Aguilera continuously paid homage to James on stage and in her 2010 film “Burlesque”.

imageEtta James posing with one of her biggest celebrity fans, Christina Aguilera, 2006.

Beyonce Knowles sang “At Last” for President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s first dance as Mr. and Mrs. President.

James’s song “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” can even be heard on the radio today, remixed into Flo Rida’s newest single “Good Feeling”.

With the 54th Grammy awards airing on February 12, there should be no doubt that the music industry will continue to pay its respects to this legendary singer.